FP3: Leclerc tops final practice, but Verstappen was back on the pace

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Netherlands, Circuit Park Zandvoortnl

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc pipped George Russell to top the final practice for the Dutch Grand Prix, but Max Verstappen appeared to be the quickest driver on track after two difficult sessions on Friday. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó reports on Free Practice 2 for the Dutch Grand Prix.

The third and final session ahead of qualifying was tightly-contested once again with Max Verstappen dominating its opening part. The Dutchman was on the back foot yesterday after his first practice was cut short due to transmission issues and the second session saw him struggle for pace due to setup problems.

However, the Dutchman registered the then fastest lap of the weekend on his first stint with a time of 1m12.1s that his rivals were unable to beat on their own first soft-tyre run.

When the time arrived for the drivers to complete their final qualifying simulation, Charles Leclerc raised the bar by clocking a time of 1m 11.632s, set with 14 minutes left on the clock. George Russell went second for Mercedes only 0.066s adrift of Leclerc’s benchmark with the young Briton appearing to be particularly fast in the final sector.

Following his ominous first stint and an eye-catching high-fuel run in the middle of the session, Verstappen ended up only third fastest as he made a mistake on the exit of Turn 3. Although he could find another tenth on his second lap to reduce the deficit to just over a tenth, it was not enough to improve his position.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz finished the session in P4 just ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Serigo Perez, who made several significant changes to the setup of his car following his yesterday’s struggles.

Fernando Alonso continued his fine form from yesterday by ending up P7 just under seven tenths of a second off Leclerc. His team mate Esteban Ocon landed in P14, six tenths of a second adrift of his double world champion team mate.

Aston Martin put in a great performance to end up eighth and twelfth fastest with Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll respectively. On the other hand, McLaren were unable to find the improvements their rivals managed to achieve in the final practice, meaning that Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished the session in a lowly 10th and 17th position respectively.

After several difficult weekends for Haas, the American team continued to impress in the last 60-minute practice in Zandvoort. Mick Schumacher clocked the 9th fastest lap with his team mate Kevin Magnussen clocking the 11th quickest time.

Alex Albon took P13 for Williams thanks to an impressive qualifying simulation lap that he completed the earliest of all drivers. His team mate Nicholas Latifi rounded out the session in P20.

Alfa Romeo had a difficult session as Valtteri Bottas’s soft-tyred runs came very late on and he finished only 18th ahead of team mate Zhou Guanyu. The AlphaTauri pair Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda also appeared to struggle for pace as the Frenchman and the Japanese took 15th and 16th respectively.


116Charles LeclercFerrari1:11.63219
263George RussellMercedes1:11.698+0.066s23
31Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:11.793+0.161s22
455Carlos SainzFerrari1:11.971+0.339s16
544Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:12.156+0.524s24
611Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:12.176+0.544s28
714Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:12.327+0.695s16
85Sebastian VettelAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:12.491+0.859s24
947Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:12.558+0.926s14
104Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:12.591+0.959s17
1120Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:12.606+0.974s14
1218Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:12.773+1.141s18
1323Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:12.775+1.143s17
1431Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:13.003+1.371s19
1510Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt1:13.046+1.414s22
1622Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Rbpt1:13.256+1.624s22
173Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:13.299+1.667s19
1877Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:13.359+1.727s14
1924Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:13.421+1.789s13
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:13.625+1.993s21